When she’s not delivering babies at Blacktown Hospital, there’s a good chance you’ll find midwife Georgia Duff at Canterbury Olympic Ice Rink.
The 21-year-old discovered her passion and aptitude for ice skating at an early age, and has dedicated countless hours to the sport of synchronized skating.
Synchronized skating involves a team of up to 16 skaters moving at high speed across the ice, completing complicated footwork as part of their own precisely-choreographed routine.
“My friend’s mum was a coach so she encouraged me to try it, and she’s been my coach ever since,” Georgia said.
“I knew it was for me straight away so I dropped my other sports to focus on skating. But I still had to work hard to get where I am.”
That hard work includes five sessions a week on the ice, with an additional workout regime that involves fitness, dance and flexibility training.
“It is a lot to balance. There were days last year when I was going from training to work to university and then to hospital,” Georgia said.
But it paid off, as she is now a two-time national synchronized skating champion.
As part of the 16-strong Team Unity, Georgia represented Australia at the 2018 World Synchronized Skating Championships in Stockholm, Sweden, and again at the 2019 Championships in Helsinki, Finland.
Her education supervisor and manager at Blacktown Hospital were happy to accommodate three weeks of leave for each of the international competitions.
“It was an incredible feeling when we were Australian champions, knowing all the hard work and sleepless nights had paid off,” Georgia said.
Along the way Georgia has dealt with a few injuries; once needing stitches in her hand after being sliced by the blade of a teammate’s skate.
But she’s also honed skills that benefit her as a midwife, including teamwork, confidence and calm under pressure – necessary when you’re competing in front of 700 people.
After back-to-back national titles and placing 15th at the world championships – Australia’s highest ever result – Georgia is at the top of her game as a skater, but just at the beginning of her career as a midwife.
“I have more responsibility this year as a graduate, but I still get a lot of help,” she said.
“That’s what I loved about training at Blacktown Hospital and why I’m excited to work here. I love the staff here, they’re so friendly and helpful, and they give me the confidence to know I can achieve.”
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